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Waiver request filed by Flathead County, Montana

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Released: October 30, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY 202 / 418-2555

DA 13-2092

Released: October 30, 2013




FCC File Number 0005696877

Comment Date: November 29, 2013
Reply Comment Date: December 14, 2013

Public Safety licensee, Flathead County, Montana (Flathead County) has filed an application to
address coverage deficiencies in its VHF land mobile radio system in northwest Montana near the
U.S./Canada border.1 Since the channels Flathead County seeks to add are in the Industrial/Business
Pool (I/B Pool), Flathead County seeks a waiver of Section 90.35(a) of the Commission’s rules.2
Flathead County proposes to operate eight I/B Pool channels at two “FB8/MO8”3 sites located
within the county.4 Flathead County states that its request is “critical to the public safety
communications network deployed within Flathead County which migrated from analog technology to a
P25 digital network.”5 Flathead County notes that all public safety licensees in the area use its radio
system including “the Sheriff’s Office, 3 Police Departments, Fire and Rescue, County Roads, Local
Fire, Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and Federal agencies such as USFS, US Marshalls Service, FBI, ATF,
and soon the US Border Patrol.”6
Flathead County claims that in changing from analog to digital Project 25 (P25) technology its
network became “far less effective” due to “[l]oss of coverage and severe multipath problems” in two

1 See File No. 0005696877 (filed Mar. 19, 2013, amended Mar. 28, 2013, Aug. 29, 2013 and Aug. 30, 2013).
2 See Waiver attached to FCC File No. 0005696877 (dated Nov. 1, 2012) (Waiver Request); Use of IB Channel
Request (dated August 28, 2013) (Amended Waiver Request).
3 FB8 refers to a repeater operating within a centralized trunked radio system which has exclusive use of the
designated frequency within a given geographic area. MO8 refers to a mobile or hand-held transceiver operating in
a centralized trunked radio system within an exclusive geographic area.
4 These frequencies include: 151.8500 MHz; 151.9100 MHz; 159.7650 MHz; 159.6975 MHz; 159.7425 MHz;
152.9375 MHz; 152.420 MHz; and 157.680 MHz.
5 Waiver Request at 1.
6 Id.

major areas of operation.7 Further, Flathead County argues that—because Canada has objected to the
public safety frequencies first proposed by Flathead County – Flathead County has no alternative but to
use its proposed I/B channels. 8 Canada, however, has concurred in Flathead County’s use of the
proposed eight I/B Pool frequencies at the two base station locations listed in its application,9
Consequently, Flathead County seeks a waiver of Section 90.35(a) of the Commission’s rules to permit it
to use the I/B channels for which it otherwise would be ineligible.10
In support of its waiver request, Flathead County includes a letter from the Association of Public
Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO) Montana Frequency Advisor demonstrating
how the high terrain at Flathead County’s sites and the sites’ proximity to Canada foreclose Flathead
County from using public safety frequencies.11 The Frequency Advisor also states that public safety
frequencies in the UHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands are not a viable option for the County because its
system is part of the State of Montana P25 digital trunking system, which is completely VHF.12 Flathead
County also provides letters of concurrence from AAA, a Commission-certified I/B Pool frequency
coordinator, concurring that the I/B Pool channels Flathead County seeks to license were properly
coordinated.13 Flathead County submits that “[a] complete review and search was conducted to find any
possible usable [Public Safety] VHF frequencies in the [Northwest] Montana region, and none could be
found which would function under the FB8 system P25 trunking.”14 Flathead County contends that
“[s]hared use of VHF channels in Public Safety […] would lead to catastrophic issues” and is impractical
because “non P25 users cannot understand the voice transmission of P25, and have no way to determine
if the channel is clear and that [it] is ready for use.” 15
We seek comment on Flathead County’s waiver request to incorporate I/B Pool frequencies into
its public safety radio system. In particular, we seek comment from any parties who would be impacted
by Flathead County’s use of these frequencies.
Interested parties may file comments on or before November 29, 2013.16 Parties may file replies
on or before December 14, 2013.17 Parties may file statements and replies electronically18 or by paper.

7 Id.
8 Id. See also 47 C.F.R. § 1.928 (detailing rule requirements for coordinating frequency assignments with Canada).
9 See File No. 0005696877 and associated COSER numbers.
10 Waiver Request at 1.
11 See Letter APCO Montana Frequency Advisor to FCC (dated Mar. 18, 2013) (attached to FCC File No.
0005696877) (APCO Letter).
12 Id.
13 See letters from RS/AAA to the Federal Communications Commission (June 29, 2012) and (Aug. 21, 2012)
(attached to File No. 0005696877) (AAA Concurrence).
14 See Amended Waiver Request at 1.
15 Id. at 2.
16 47 C.F.R. § 1.405.
17 Id.
18 See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

All comments and reply comments should reference the subject Flathead County Waiver Request
and the DA number indicated on this Public Notice. Comments may be filed: (1) electronically by
accessing the applicant’s file number(s) in the Commission’s Universal Service Licensing System
(ULS),19 or (2) by filing paper copies.
Electronic Filers: Pleadings may be submitted electronically as follows:
From the ULS website at, begin the process of submitting a
pleading by clicking on the “ULS Pleadings” link in the menu on the lower left side of the
ULS web page. The link will take you to the “Pleading Information” screen for “Non-
docketed Pleadings” where you select “Reply” in the drop-down window for the type of
pleading and then enter the pleadings filer information. Completion of the contact
information is optional. Upon completion of this screen, please note the instructions for the
filing: “Pleadings must be dated and must include a signature, in this instance an electronic
signature, and the address and phone number of the signing party
.”20 Click on
The second step is to complete the File Numbers/Call Signs screen. Click if the pleading
pertains to a File Number or Call Sign and enter the File Number or Call Sign. Please note
that you must enter a File Number or Call Sign to continue. If the pleading pertains to
multiple applications or licenses, you must enter each File Number or Call Sign as
appropriate. After clicking the “SUBMIT” button, the screen will update to show all the File
Numbers/Call Signs associated with the pleading. At this time, you may delete selected File
Numbers/Call Signs from the page before continuing.
The third step is to complete the Attach File screen to attach the pleading document. Use the
drop down box to select Pleading or Confidential Pleading. The “BROWSE” button opens a
file upload window where you will locate and select your pleading file. The Description
field allows you to enter a brief description for the pleading. Click the “ADD
ATTACHMENT” button to upload your pleading. You may submit up to thirty files for
each pleading but each file must be smaller than 10 MB in size. You also have the
opportunity to delete any selected file from the pleading.
Finally, to complete your electronic pleading submission, click on the “SUBMIT
PLEADING” button and the Confirmation screen will be displayed. The Confirmation
screen will display your Confirmation Number as well as your entered pleadings information.
You may print this page for your records by selecting the Print Page link at the top of the
page and have the option of submitting another pleading or returning to the ULS website by
selecting a link at the bottom of the page.

19 See “Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Enhances the Commission’s Universal Licensing System to
Implement Electronic Filing for Pleadings,” Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 424 (WTB 2006). See
20 See 47 C.F.R. Part 1.

The ULS Application and License Search results will display pleadings under the ADMIN tab
when a comment or reply comment has been filed. Users can view the pleading by clicking on the link
for the specific comment or reply comment in the Description field. The general public will not be able
to view confidential pleadings.
For additional information or assistance on how to file a comment or reply comment or other
relevant pleading, you may visit the Web at You may also call the FCC ULS
Customer Support Center at (877) 480-3201 and select option 2, or (888) 225-5322 and select Option 2,
or (717) 338-2888. For TTY, please call (717) 338-2824. Assistance from the FCC ULS Customer
Support Center is available between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through
Friday (except Federal holidays). To provide quality service and ensure security, all telephone calls to
FCC ULS Customer Support Center are recorded.
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must submit an original and four copies of each
Send hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary to
FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The
filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber
bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the
Send commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, M.D. 20743.
Send U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority to 445 12th Street, SW,
Washington, D.C. 20554.
The application(s), waiver request, and comments and reply comments can be accessed
electronically via the Commission’s Universal Licensing System, The full
text of the Flathead County Waiver Request, comments and reply comments will be available for
inspection and copying during business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445
12th St. SW, Room CY-A257, Washington, D.C. 20554. The documents may also be purchased from
BCPI. Email or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, (voice) (202) 418-
0530, (TTY) (202)-418-0432 to request materials in formats accessible to people with disabilities, e.g.
Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format.
For further information regarding this proceeding contact John A. Evanoff, Esq., Policy and
Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (voice) (202) 418-0848 or
-- FCC --

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